Inception Date

Inception date is a car insurance term that refers to the date that an insurance policy actually begins. Also known as start date, effective date or renewal date, an inception date is an important piece of information when making an insurance claim after an accident or other loss.

An inception date can be found on the insurance card, the car insurance document or any written communications about the policy from the insurance company. Inception dates are also useful in planning a switch to a new insurance policy or a new vehicle purchase, either of which may necessitate a delayed start of policy coverage.

While many policyholders choose to start their coverage immediately on payment, the policyholder may choose to delay coverage until a future inception date. One reason to choose a future inception date is if a policyholder decides to change car insurance policies and does not want to pay for overlapping old and new insurance. If the purchaser chooses the new policy's inception date to coincide with the expiration of the old policy, there will be no overlapping payments or uninsured gaps.

Another reason for planning a future inception date is the purchase of a new vehicle. If a newly purchased vehicle is not ready to be picked up due to modifications, add-ons, back-orders or shipment times, the insurance policy may be set up to begin at a predetermined inception date to coincide with the pickup of the new vehicle.

Typically, insurance companies only allow the delay of inception dates for up to a month, but even with these restrictions the option of planning inception dates helps the policyholder plan ahead when changing insurance. If the insurance purchaser must delay an inception date for more than a month, car insurance companies may grant exceptions depending on the circumstances.

Delaying an inception date does not require the policyholder to pay additional fees or to pay for the policy coverage during the delay. Although the purchaser of the insurance may have to pay a deposit on the agreement before the inception date, this deposit should not exceed the deposit amount that would have been charged if the inception date had been immediate. A full refund of this deposit should be available if the policy is canceled before the inception date.

The day an insurance policy begins coverage, known as the inception date, is an important piece of information to keep in mind when making a claim or planning on buying a new policy due to cancellation of an old one or the purchase of a new car. Being able to plan an inception date helps the car insurance purchaser to plan ahead and stay insured.

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